Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli had a verbal spat during an IPL matchIt has been very long since the Indian cricket team has been docile and submissive on the field. The times changed from Sourav Ganguly’s era and with Virat Kohli at the helm of things, there is hardly any possibility of India turning into a ‘gentleman’s team.’While sledging and on-field fighting has always added another flavour to the game of cricket, at times they do tend to turn ugly. The banter is always enjoyable as long as it doesn’t turn offensive.One Indian player who has always been known to get into altercations is Gautam Gambhir. The former Indian opener has got into an aggressive tiff with Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary during the ongoing Round 4 Ranji Tropy match between Delhi and Bengal.Here is a look at five incidents when Gautam Gambhir got into an on-field spat with the opposition:
#1 With Kamran Akmal
An India-Pakistan encounter is the zenith of all cricketing battles and so much is at stake at these matches that players themselves are easily quite strung out.
In a match during Asia Cup 2010, an over enthusiastic appeal by Pakistani wicket keeper, Kamran Akmal infuriated Gautam Gambhir so much, that he found it necessary to have a ‘chat’ with him. All it requires is a tiny bit of spark and Gambhir is all guns and swords. Akmal initiated a dialogue and the two clash in a forehead to forehead, eyeball to eyeball confrontation. The umpires had to intervene and warn the players. Captain Cool MS Dhoni, who was batting with Gambhir, took him away from the fight.
Two accomplished international players engaging in petty abuses is never a welcome sight.
#2 With Andre Nel
The Proteas were visiting India and this happened during the second One Day International (ODI) at Bangalore in 2005. South Africa were defending a low total of 169 and clearly, the mighty pacers were in pressure because Chinnaswamy is known to be a batsman’s paradise.
Gautam Gambhir was batting when a lofted shot by him turned into a fortuitous boundary. Naturally, that angered the bowler Andre Nel and a spat began to ensue. Gauti, as he is fondly called, stood up to the tall Nel and engaged in a heated exchange of words, amidst smashing the pacer through all corners of the ground.
In the end, the umpires intervened and restored calm to the proceedings. India won the match by six wickets.
#3 With Shahid Afridi
Pakistan was touring India for a five-match ODI series and this ugly episode took place during the third ODI, held in Kanpur in 2007. Gautam Gambhir was struggling a bit in the centre and the Delhi southpaw, never the one far away from a fight, riles up bowler Shahid Afridi and the two players are yelling at each from 22 yards away using language that is not found in the dictionary.
Gambhir stole a quick single and collided into Afridi and the Pakistani was livid. A barrage of abuses is spat out both ways and the umpire Ian Gould had to come in and separate the duo. Both of them were fined for their antics for breaching the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Code of Conduct.
India went on to win this match on the back of Yuvraj Singh’s heroics.
#4 With Shane Watson
Political tensions have caused India-Pakistan bi-lateral series to become a thing of the past. As the arch-rivals meet less and less, the fan frenzy has begun to turn in the favour of India-Australia clashes. While they may never compare to a match between the neighbours, due to the recent history between India and Australia, these matches tend to get wild too.
During the Border-Gavaskar test series in 2008, Shane Watson and the Delhi batsman came face to face in the third test at Feroz Shah Kotla.
It was the 51st over of the innings, and Gambhir had reached 65, when he had the altercation with Watson. The former Indian opener flicked Watson towards midwicket and the bowler gesticulated and said something to Gambhir during the first run. While going back for the second, it appeared as if Gambhir stuck out his elbow to hit Watson in the rib cage (he later claimed it was an accident). Another heated exchange followed later, when Simon Katich came in Gambhir's way as he looked to steal a sharp single.
Drama continued during his entire stay at the crease as neither party chose to calm down.
#5 With Virat Kohli
This was one of the most unsavoury sightings in Indian Premier League (IPL) history because it involved a spat between two players who play together not only for the same state but also for the same team internationally. Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir both play for Delhi in Ranji and have claimed to be friends, playing together for India.
That is why the world stared in disbelief when these two went head-to-head in a match between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the sixth edition of the IPL.
The incident happened off the first delivery of the 10th over bowled by Lakshmipathy Balaji. Kohli, who had hit Pradeep Sangwan for two sixes, went for a wild slash but was caught in the sweeper cover region. As Gambhir and other players walked towards cover region to celebrate the dismissal, Kohli instead of trudging back to the pavilion walked towards short extra cover and apparently made a remark.
Suddenly, Gambhir was seen walking angrily towards his junior and an ugly verbal duel took place. It took another Delhi lad, Rajat Bhatia to get in between them and return sanity.